Skip to main content

Full text of "The Cambridge Natural History"

See other formats


306                              EXTINCT GIRAFFES

specialised animal than its forerunner of the Miocene. In the
latter, the male alone carried horns, and in neither sex does
the unpaired median hony excrescence appear. The remains of
this genus (probably even the same species, & boissieri') also occur
in Persia.
HelladotJierium (there is but one species, 271 duvernoyi} has
its four limbs of nearly the same length ; the skull of the only
known example is hornless ; the neck is shorter than in Giraffa.
It is known from the Miocene deposits of Pikermi in Greece.
Palaeotragus is a genus which is not referred to the Giraffidae
by all systematists. Its very name, given to it by the eminent
French palaeontologist M. Gaudry, indicates his opinion as to its
Antelopine affinities. The chief and indeed (according to Porsy th
Majorx) the only reason for placing this Ruminant with, the Ante-
lopes is the large size of the horns. They undoubtedly suggest
the horn cores of Antelopes. But they are placed wider apart than
in those animals. It is thought that the hornless Camelopardalis
pa/foa, is the female of this species, which is from Pikermi.
Rather more different from Giraffa, is the extinct genus
Sivatherium, from the Siwalik deposits of India. Here again
there has been some discussion as to its affinities. Some place
it in the neighbourhood of ^ntilocapra, but most palaeontologists
now regard it as a Giraffe. The main peculiarity of this large
beast was the existence of two pairs of horn cores ; the larger are
upon the parietal bones, and are of a palmated form,, with a few
short tines, which are highly suggestive of those of the Elk
(Aloes). The shorter anterior pair are upon the frontal bones.
The neck is short, the limbs of equal length, and there are no
additional toes upon the limbs. Sivatherium was almost as large
as an Elephant, and in restorations it is depicted as having a
fleshy dilated nose like the Saiga Antelope ; this view is based
upon the position and size of the nasal bones. Hornless skulls
have been identified as the female of Sivatherium.
Yishnut7^erifwm> JEfydra&potherium, and jBramatherium are
allied genera.
Fam. 8. Antilocapridae.—This family contains but one genus
and species, the 2S". American " Pronghorn/* dintilocaprci, americana.
This animal deserves a family to itself on account of the singular
of the horns, wliicli are intermediate in character
1 Forayth Major. JFVoc. Zoot, Soe. 1891, p. 315.